Sustainability is one of the County Office of Education's five core practices to ensure the County Office and schools countywide meet the needs of present and future students through practices that are environmentally, socially, and economically responsible. The County Office of Education prioritizes integrating environmental sustainability and climate-ready practices across its campuses, curriculum, community, and culture.

The County Office of Education's Environmentally Literacy and Sustainability Initiative, Outdoor Education program, and Business Services Division directly serve San Mateo County's 23 school districts with their environmental projects and goals. The County Office of Education also strives to lead by example with many internal sustainability initiatives to curb carbon emissions, reduce resource consumption, and divert waste from landfills.

Sustainability Dashboard

Since 2020, the County Office of Education has tracked and published utility data on a sustainability dashboard. Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative staff have also assisted school districts with creating and maintaining their own sustainability dashboards. These dashboards increase transparency and help track progress toward sustainability goals.

Sustainable Practices at the County Office of Education

Waste

All County Office of Education sites have labeled and color-coded tri-stream waste bins. In 2023, all staff members were offered hands-on waste sorting and reduction training to increase the organization's diversion rates and reduce contamination in the bins. 

The County Office of Education has also made efforts to reduce resource consumption and waste generation through the implementation of print codes and digitization of contracts and procurement.  

The County Office of Education currently has a diversion rate of 63 percent.

Energy

  • 100% Clean Electricity - , San Mateo County’s Community Choice Aggregation, provides 麻豆精品视频 with carbon free energy that is currently from 51.8% renewable sources. 
  • EV chargers - 麻豆精品视频 has five electric vehicle charging stations at the main office and two at the school sites. There are plans to install five more stations at the main office and one at the Anne Campbell Center in 2024. These stations are used by employees during work hours and are open to the public at night and on weekends making driving an EV more convenient. 
  • LED lighting - during the 2022-23 school year 麻豆精品视频 began switching all lightbulbs from fluorescent to LED. The central office currently has 100% LED bulbs. All classrooms have LED bulbs and the rest of the school campuses will also be converted by the end of 2023. 
  • Reduction in Energy Use Over Time - Using information from utility bills and the sustainability dashboard, 麻豆精品视频 has calculated a 28% reduction in energy use from the 2018-19 school year to the 2022-23 school year.

Water

  • Drought tolerant landscaping at K-12 Special Education 
  • At the 麻豆精品视频 main office, 100% recycled water is used for irrigation.  
  • Low-flow sinks, toilets, and drinking fountains 
  • Using information from utility bills and the sustainability dashboard, 麻豆精品视频 has calculated a 14% reduction in water use from the 2018-19 school year to the 2022-23 school year.

Awards and Recognitions

The County Office of Education has been recognized multiple times for its sustainability and environmental literacy efforts across its various programs. 

California Green Ribbon Schools Award

  • Bronze (2019)
  • Bronze (2018)

San Mateo County School Boards Association (SMCSBA) Kent Awards  

  • Outdoor Education Program and Outdoor Learning Initiative (2023)
  • Environmental Learning Collaborative Professional Development Program (2018) 

Sustainable San Mateo County Awards

  • 麻豆精品视频 Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative (2020) 
  • 麻豆精品视频’s Outdoor Education Program (1999) 

California School Board Association (CSBA) Golden Bell Award

  • 麻豆精品视频 Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative (2023)

Policies

A school district or county office of education's Board of Trustees and Superintendent can encourage an overall institutional culture of sustainability through policies, resolutions, and other actions that make commitments to environmental literacy and sustainable and climate-ready schools efforts. Below are the County Office of Education's policies related to environmental literacy and sustainability:

Curriculum

The County Office of Education is a statewide leader in environmental literacy and sustainability curriculum and instruction for teachers, administrators, and facilities staff through its Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative. It facilitates a teacher environmental literacy fellowship, provides tailored professional development on environmental literacy, supports environmental experiences for students, and funds transportation for field trips. 

Gardens

In the 2022-23 school year, the County Office of Education gave out Living Schoolyard Grant awards of up to $5,000 to fifteen schools to continue the work of gardens and outdoor classroom space.

The County Office of Education's various school campuses, including Palos Verdes/El Portal, the Gateway Center, Camp Kemp, and Canyon Oaks Youth Center all have gardens and outdoor education space used by students during class time or after school.

Related Programs

The County Office of Education supports San Mateo County schools and districts with their own sustainability goals through:

Ron Soper

Director, Sustainable Construction and Facilities

Email: rpsoper@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5608

Julie Hilborn

Coordinator, Environmental Literacy and Sustainability

Email: jhilborn@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5406

Annalise Eder

Green Facilities and Operations Analyst

Email: aeder@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5446